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May 7th, 2014 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Next: Democrats Duck the Santa Claus Question.

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  • A Portland police detective who faced allegations last year that he tampered with jurors and threatened his ex-wife has quit the force. WW first wrote about Jason Lobaugh’s troubles nine years ago, after he was investigated for allegedly tipping off an illegal steroid dealer of an imminent police sting (“Officers, Not Gentlemen,” WW, June 29, 2005). Last year, a Multnomah County circuit judge dressed him down for boasting about himself in front of potential jurors in a case in which he was to be a witness (“Tamper Tantrum,” WW, Sept. 18, 2013). Lobaugh allegedly threatened to beat up his ex-wife and her new husband last summer, leading to an internal investigation (“One Cop’s Exes and Uh-Ohs,” WW, Nov. 6, 2013). The bureau’s investigators determined that not enough evidence existed for a finding of misconduct in that matter, but the Citizen Review Committee voted unanimously to challenge that recommendation. Police Chief Mike Reese agreed April 29 to sustain the complaint.
  • The staff at the Multnomah County Courthouse is rushing to convert its old paper file system to a new electronic database without bringing the court’s business to a grinding halt. Staff this week will begin transferring 2 million case files into the state’s new eCourts system, which will cost $78 million by the end of 2015. Multnomah is the 11th county in Oregon to make the transition. Court administrator Doug Bray says 300 staffers will work through the weekend so the system can go live May 12. Anyone with court business can expect some delays as judges and staff get used to the new system. “Everything that has to happen will happen,” Bray says. “It just might take longer.” Bray says one court employee will bring in her therapy dog to help soothe tense nerves.
  • You may have noticed WW in some new places this week. The story of how we kicked a Republican U.S. Senate candidate out of an endorsement interview has drawn national attention, featured on Fox News, CNN and Slate. The incident occurred last month, when we were interviewing candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Mark Callahan had already been asked to stop interrupting another candidate when he rebuked WW reporter Nigel Jaquiss. Jaquiss had written “blah blah blah” in his notebook while candidate Jo Rae Perkins answered a question. Callahan then called climate change “a myth,” and Jaquiss asked him, “Where are you on the Easter bunny?” Callahan denounced the question and was asked to leave after interrupting a question to state Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend). Callahan called WW editors “thin-skinned liberals” on his way out the door. Video of the interview has become a cause célèbre in conservative media circles, drawing WW loads of Web visits and prompting some vividly worded hate mail. See the 2,500 comments (and counting!) here.
 
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